Jewel-set Gloves: 1896-1899


The Latest Parisian Fad Which Is on Its Way Here.

The latest fad in the way of eccentric dress is the wearing of jewels upon various articles of clothing. This extravagance originated in gay Paris, where the jewelers are falling over one another in their attempts to find some new use to which to put gems.

There are now on the market as a unique result of this attempt to find or devise something new, gloves in the back of which rubies, pearls and emeralds, and, in fact, any gem whose natural color harmonizes or makes a pleasing contrast to the color of the glove. Diamonds seem to be the favorite gem used for this purpose.

The jewels are set in the back of the glove, along the seam and are held in place by means of a small nut attachment. Thus far only a few of the more advanced women of the ultra-fashionable set have taken to wearing the diamond ornamented glove, but the fad is slowly but surely spreading and no man can tell to what extent it may be carried.

The wearing of gems, according to jewelers, has never been so widespread and extensive as at the present time. While a year or two ago it was considered bad form to wear any but the plainest jewels, the extreme will soon be reached, and jewels will be worn in ways never before thought of.

Like every other fashion which originates in Paris, the fad of wearing diamond-backed gloves has crossed the English Channel and a few of the more daring English leaders of fashion have promptly had jewels set in the backs of their gloves. Following the invariable order of such things, the fad will reach this country during the present season.

St Louis [MO] Republic 14 June 1896: p. 21

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: While the jeweled-glove fad was extensively reported from about 1896 to 1899, there were varying descriptions of precisely how the gemstones were attached. Mrs Daffodil is uncertain about the particulars of that “small nut attachment.” For example, this description is from 1897:

Jewelled gloves are now numbered among the many luxuries indulged in by fashionable Parisians, who adorn their gloves, according to the colour of the kid, with real diamonds, rubies, pearls, turquoises, etc. These are fastened on fine chains, which replace the raised seams on the back of the hand. Short gloves are ornamented at the wrists and gauntlets, and they have not unfrequently a jewelled monogram conspicuously placed in the middle.

Hawke’s Bay Herald, 3 April 1897, Page 1

An engraved newspaper illustration, which somewhat inadequately conveys the splendour of jewelled gloves.

An engraved newspaper illustration, which somewhat inadequately conveys the splendour of jewelled gloves.

And this account of jeweled gloves on the Riviera:


A New Fashion Started by Leaders of Society at Nice and Rome

Several leaders of society at Nice and Rome have taken to jewelled gloves, and the fashion is said to be spreading. At a Russian dinner on the Riviera, one woman wore jewelled gloves which represented a fortune. The jewels were not set in the gloves, but were detachable. Hoop rings of rare rubies and diamonds encircled each finger. From each ran a tiny gold chain, and these chains were caught together on the back of the hand by a superb cluster of the same stones. The chains then extended to the wrist, where they were fastened to a ruby and diamond bracelet…the wearer was a countess who is a power in European society, and other women are wearing less pretentious ornaments of the sort.

The Times [Richmond, VA] 31 January 1899: p. 7

Certainly the notion of jewelled chains couched to the fabric of the glove or of linked rings and bracelets worn over the glove seem far more practical than painstakingly attaching prong-set gems to the accessory.  It is certainly more palatable than the disagreeable fad of setting jewels into one’s finger-nails. When the jewelled glove fad was revived in the 1930s and 1940s, large and blatantly faux jewels, attached with adhesives, simplified life immensely. The effect, as may be seen at the top of this post, was eminently satisfying.

 Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.


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